12 Chappellet ‘Mountain Cuvee’ [Napa] My first experience with this, which I assume to be Chappellet’s entry level BDX blend (2/3 CS & Merlot, the balance malbec, petit verdot, CF etc.) A big framed wine, 14.5% abv, which was served over two nights (with beef goulash and then tacos) I pick up lots of oak, red berry fruits, currants on the nose and palate. The finish is maybe 15 seconds. Maybe it will age, but doesn’t feel it has the tannic structure its bigger brothers might show. The flavor profile is monochromatic to me - one jammy note. On the bright side, it does ‘feel’ like a Napa wine so if one is looking for that New World flavor to compare / contrast vs. Old World this has that. Maybe I’m missing something or got a bad deal, but at $28, it seems like poor value to me. I’d pass on buying this again. Maybe its a low B or something on my scale. I have historically liked the estates wines but this is the first time I’ve tried this blend.
I’d like to pick up some 12 and 13 wines from the region to lay down, as I have hardly bought any from that region since 2001, but this doesn’t seem like a candidate at its price point. Any suggestions? I should check out the Ramey Claret since I’ve liked that in the past.
I tried this about 3 months ago at a tasting of Chappellet new releases. I agree with the B rating, but maybe a high B for me. I did get a more expansive, longer, and more complex finish than Arv described.
The tannin was not as apparent as in the Signature Cuvee (we did not taste the 2012 Pritchard Hill), but to my palate, the Signature didn’t have the fruit or density to live up to it’s elevated tannin level. The Mountain was very ripe, although not cloying. I would count on 10-15 years of pleasure out it, but I tend to feel that you should be able to get at least that out of any quality Napa Cab, which I feel this is. I also think that the Mountain is a good bottle for gifts or to pour for non-geek guests.
Putting my money where my mouth is, I bought a case of the Mountain, and passed on the Signature.
I always loved the Chappellet Mountain Cuvee until they changed it to “Cervantes” a few years ago. A rep informed me that the former Mountain Cuvee contained grapes from a vineyard next to Michael Mondavi’s and apparently Chappellet lost access to the fruit and changed to the “Cervantes” label, which in my opinion was of much lower quality. Does anyone know what fruit is being used in the new Mountain Cuvee? Was the rep blowing smoke? Did they just change the name back?
Arv, I’ll share the same tips that King Cab gave me for under $30 Cabs:
2009 Hagan’s Reserve
2012 Hardin Napa Valley
Both punch WAY above their weight class. Another bottle of Cab around the same price we enjoy:
2012 Textbook Napa Valley
Next weekend we’re having our $25 Cab-Off with those 3 bottles, plus 2010 Conn Creek and 2012 Sebastiani Alexander Valley. I’ll post the results.
ps - I get to say again how much weight Chappellet Signature has amongst our group of winos: it’s our house favorite at that price point, and won our $50 Cab-Off a month and a half ago. It is the absolute best paring with the spare ribs at our usual Hibachi restaurant. My wife even mimicked their sauce so we can enjoy it at home. (this is why I’ve gained 40 lbs since meeting her.)
I’ll check those out. I’ve liked a lot of the older Conn Creek and Chappelet’s too. I just liked them even more back when they were cheaper! Conn Creek is very bdx’y to me, although the bottle gives it away in a blind tasting.
I have not tasted the Hardin Cab either. The Textbook Napa Cab Sauv (from the folks at Pey-Marin) is, IMHO, a rich, vanilla-inflected valley floor model true-to-type. It’s bound to attract lovers of soft, user-friendly Cabs.
I have not tried a Chappellet Cabernet in years! The estate stuff was always impressive, but the “Mountain Cuvee” had an obvious switcheroo in its style sometime back.
I used to recommend the less expensive blend from Conn Creek to customers, too, as well as Ehlers Estate CS & Provenance Merlot, but I don’t know what they’re like these days…